Free pre-natal and post-partum services at all Catholic hospitals nationwide. Period.
And I'd bet that all the "war on women" accusations would stop overnight. Well, not in some circles to be sure.
Imagine: a pregnant woman sitting in front of her computer scanning her options for free prenatal services.
What's that? Planned Parenthood? No, they always have those protestors out front and besides, aren't they a bit twisted?
Oh, but look! The local Catholic hospital offers the same services for free (minus the birth control and abortion). Really? Catholics taking care of women? Those crazy zygote-lovers who believe in the sanctity of life from the moment of conception...is actually taking care of people, zygote people, from the moment of conception?
No required insurance?? In fact, we don't even care if they have insurance or not...it's a human life and a mother, people! Is there no room at the inn for the mothers carrying unborn children at our illustrious Catholic hospitals?
The logical next step?
I mean, as a Church, what would happen if we actually became THE place for pregnant women to turn to to learn about everything reproduction related. Wow. What might actually happen then? Oh, I dunno, conversion? Connecting with those who need us the most. Where is that in our mission statement? Oh, everywhere, that's right.
OR Catholic hospitals absorbing and supported the zillion crisis pregnancy centers across the country who already do this.
Either way. It's a family issue and should be a Synod issue, I think. What do you think?
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Sunday, October 12, 2014
My husband and I are seven years in and we still can't tell what our friends and family really think of our birth control-free lifestyle.
Well, that's not totally true, I can sort of tell. I suspect that most either expect us to ditch the whole Natural Family Planning thing any day now or they pretty much assume that I'm probably pregnant. As in pregnant right now and every time they see me and all of the time.
But they are true friends which means at least they won't unfriend me on Facebook. I think.
They probably also wonder what my husband and I think of them. The answer: yeah we're totally judgmental jerks. Only, we so aren't!
We don't sit there "tsking" away at their acceptance of contraception or their sins, because then, as sinners we'd be hypocrites.
But he and I (mostly me) are NFP enthusiasts. To a fault. This is common knowledge amongst all our friends who tolerate it and us even if they aren't one hundred percent sure what NFP is. To them, NFP means only one thing anyway: no birth control. They know Jon doesn't wear anything and I don't alter my self in any way to be intimate with him. I suppose I just hope that they wonder what that's like (but not in graphic detail because then they'd all be pervs).
What I mean is: I hope that they wonder what it's like to live without birth control. Have my husband and I emulated the ideal NFP couple? Pfft. No way. But it's normal life to us and frankly, neither of us would have it any other way.
So what are contraception-free Skittles really like? Well...
Life without birth control is actually when, at one point in the month, your husband has never been more attractive than any man on earth has ever been in that moment. Once the "take me take me take me" feelings subside you then move onto the "meh" portion of the month. The sex is still really nice but the rush and the adrenaline are gone during this time. Mostly. In any case you remember how tired your million kids (sorry I just had to say it) make you and sleep trumps sex most nights.
Until the next month when the sexiness comes back, that is. Notice, I made no mention of taking temperatures, or keeping your charts organized and applying various rules etc. etc. Naw. When something becomes a part of your life, you get pretty good at it. NFP is like that too.
I know this account of life without birth control is over simplified for some. Where's the monthly epic battle against all vices? Where is the abacus to record the spiritual dolors that come with periodic abstinence? Where's the gilt framed picture of the scared hearts of Jesus and Mary gazing creepily in the direction of your marriage bed? This must be what most people think of when they meet a Catholic who doesn't use birth control!
Life without birth control is simply or not so simply this: it's life minus barriers and chemicals when you have sex. Period. Sounds great, right? And it is! So why aren't people lining up to hear more about it?
Once again, as an enthusiast, when I go to assuage their fears and clear up any misconceptions they have, I might actually be doing more harm than good in promoting NFP in lofty terms to someone. Believe me I have tried, both with acquaintances and in large parish group settings. "Need help conceiving? Call me!", "You're engaged? If you ever want to hear my NFP talk, let me know!" I can almost hear them tossing the NFP idea out of their minds as they glance around to my zillion kids bouncing off the walls.
My "My NFP is Better Than Your Birth Control" bumper sticker most likely isn't helping me either.
About the kids. We have three. I know for some that's like saying three thousand, and the laundry pile makes it feel that way, but it's not. It's three. And you know what? We probably aren't done and that is normal too.
Plus we all know that as a good Catholic couple, my husband and I only care about making babies and not actually caring for them when they are here. Just this morning I remember thinking, "Time for a new one!" as I threw an unsheathed banana in the direction of my eighteenth month old's cage. Hey, at least I refill his water feeder from time to time.
Life without birth control, in short, is still normal life, just perhaps a bit sexier at a high point each month, way more organic, and yes, doable even for dummy like me. But if none of that even remotely appeals to you, don't worry, the next time you want to have sex, I am sure there is an exciting pharmacy with a pimply teenager waiting to ring you up near you!
Sunday, August 10, 2014
It’s the middle of the night.
I make my way stepping over toys to the kids’ room in search of my husband.
I find him half asleep and rocking our four year old son who has been experiencing night terrors.
In literally only a couple of hours my husband will have to get up and go to work for his family while we all sleep in. It hardly seems fair to the man, having to suffer through the night only to wake up and go provide for his family. However he does it, every single day, out of love for us.
That, to me, is a man and that is exactly why I can’t read or watch Fifty Shades of Grey where the main character, Christian (I hate that he is named this) Grey, ties up, beats up and practices all sorts of "BDSM" (bondage, domination, sadism, masochism) on his girlfriend. And the girl, Anastasia (aw, how Disney), she’s in love with it, or him, or at least can’t seem to live without it or him, right? Healthy.
Here's the thing: people, women especially will never come to view Fifty Shades in the destructive, shameful light it should be cast in unless they have experienced what real masculinity and selfless suffering look like. Unless they’ve encountered what it means to be in fully committed relationship (i.e. marriage), with someone who dies to themselves everyday, or in the middle of the night if need be, for them and their family, then a smut book like Fifty Shades is all mindless fun and games.
That isn’t to say that married women and mothers haven’t read the book by the droves. The book alone has sold almost one hundred million copies globally. Mom-porn is the term, I believe. Are you kidding me?
Wives, is BDSM the sort of sexual relationship you want with your spouse?
Is Christian Grey the man you’d want for your daughters? If you have a daughter, the thought of any man abusing them in such a way as Christian does Anastasia, and having it glorified as sexy, should spark immediate disgust.
Is Christian Grey the man you want your sons to grow into? I can’t even entertain the notion of any of my beautiful boys as Christian Grey without wanting to move to Timbucktoo just to avoid them ever exposed to the normalization of such shameful acts.
To those who say they would never do what’s in the story, but they don’t see the harm in reading the books and seeing the movie, please consider this:
Purity of heart is important and I submit to you that convoluting that purity with a story like Fifty Shades dampens your sense of God and therefore, right and wrong.
If you can’t tell the difference between what is good and what is bad, then what’s to stop you from making seriously unhealthy decisions for your relationship? From 'experimenting' or from the get-go choosing the wrong person to be with?
May the wise take heed: in reality, sexually impure acts, whether they are to the degree described in Fifty Shades or even if they take a less violent form, such as cohabitation (equally destructive over time), is the emotionally codependent path upon which many bad relationships tread for a long time.
Don’t do it. Avoid the allure of twisted temptations sold as exciting. Stick to the loving, selfless acts of charity that build up your spouse, family and yourself and upon which all healthy relationships are based. All long lasting, sexually fulfilling marriages as well.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
First of all, ew.
Have you seen the advertisements for TV’s latest naked themed show? If not, watch here (warning: butts everywhere).
As the trailer depicts, the show’s singles defend abandoning clothes in their pursuit for the right person because they at the point where they will “try anything” and because dating in the real world sucks, apparently.
Um. Two things.
What the show gets right.
Yes, there are elements about the show that get at our natural human desire to love and be loved sans barriers, material or otherwise. Removing clothes is being equated with removing any superficial blockades to true intimacy.
I get it. The hook-up generation is deeply and understandably frustrated with their “relationships” never going anywhere (imagine that). They are thirsting to forge a genuine connection with someone that is more than skin deep, pun intended. However, it’s questionable just how much zip lining across a jungle canopy in the buff with a stranger achieves any sort of authentic intimacy.
What the show gets very, very wrong.
The show is getting authenticity wrong. Our true self is not just our disrobed self no matter how many participants claim to have felt a deeper connection with someone due to being naked.
Sweetheart, that’s called pheromones.
The show gets the beauty and thrill of nudity wrong. Finally gettin’ nekked with someone, which used to be exciting and reserved for married couples, now basically loses it impact fifteen minutes into the show. And that, my friends is just tragic.
Bottom line, when nudity is basically reduced to a dress code then, as St. JP2 said about pornography, the problem with a series like “Dating Naked” is not showing too much but too little of the person.
On the show, it’s doubtful we will ever get to see the “real” people we are watching (not that I’m watching the show) because we are too busy being distracted by “too much” of them. And it is distracting. It’s meant to be – otherwise they would have chosen normal-sized people to be on TV.
Oh, people will defend the dating naked idea. And I am sure the show will receive great ratings and viewership…due to the deep conversations, right?
But if this is the culture’s answer for how and unmarried person can forge a meaningful relationship with the right person, then I’d be very disappointed if I was a single right now...and I’d still be single.
I mean who is actually ever going to date naked? In real life, it doesn’t work. You try getting to know someone or have a meaningful discussion about politics, religion, the housing market whatever, without cracking a giggle at the dingly dangly.
So I stand by my principles that the “Dating Naked” shows too little .
But also too much.
I say again, ew.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Dear young woman whom I observed buying condoms at the store the other night,
You probably didn’t take much notice, but we just happened cross paths in the same grocery aisle when I was buying baby supplies which someone humorously located right across from the family planning section.
You were there with a girlfriend and you were on your cell phone. You sounded a bit tipsy.
As I walked by holding my baby, I overheard you explain to your caller, “I’m trying to buy condoms here,”
I shuddered when you said that. Judging by appearance, you must be at least ten years younger than myself. No wedding ring either.
Your girlfriend casually suggested buying someone else a box of condoms too. And one for herself. “Might as well,” you said.
My heart bled.
Monday, June 23, 2014
After watching Martin Sheen’s “The Way” where Sheen’s character backpacks Spain’s famed pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, something crazy Catholic was…unleashed… in me.
My St. Joan of Arc fantasy crossed streams with my inner Spaniard missionary and I wanted to fly across the world on a
plane wielding my rosary sword passport in order to descend upon every
pilgrimage site in Europe with the fire of a thousand tongues of the Holy Spirit
Then I thought, nah.
I’m an American. With kids. So what’s an American mom with a burning desire to make a pilgrimage supposed to do?
I know! Invent my own American “camino,” a driving one, and a route featuring churches and convenience stores along the way.
Except I didn’t have to dream up anything new. We actually have a camino and we don’t even realize it.
So I’m calling it the Camino de Mickey D’s.
Not really. Actually it's a route I traveled with my mom and kids that connects my parish in Santa Clara, California (Our Lady of Peace Shrine) to Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama (aka Mother Angelica and the Poor Clares of EWTN).
Believe me, we took our time, driving onlyaround 6 hrs each day with plenty of snack and bathroom stops in between.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
The Huffington Post recently dictated a forgone conclusion of my post-marriage generation in an article titled 10 Reasons It’sTotally Fine Never to Get Married.
Let’s explore their lame-o rationales, shall we? (Their arguments are in bold, followed by my comments.)
Quoth the oracle: “So, there's no need to stress about not getting married -- everyone else is staying single too.” And we know from experience that when everyone is doing something it must be okay.
This gem of a quote, “Another point: getting married can cause a single parent to lose student aid for their child.” Wow. Just think of all those government incentives you’re missing out on by getting hitched! Oh! Bring it on, profitable fornication (that’s Latin or Greek for what everyone else is doing anyway.)